Many brands claim they’re working hard to reduce their environmental impact, but ensuring their products are eco-friendly truly is Green Oil’s number one priority.
Words and photos: Will Shaw
Green Oil are a British company founded in 2007. They’re focussed on making high quality lubricant and cleaning products that are also kind to the planet. Many brands claim they’re working hard to reduce their environmental impact, but ensuring their products are eco-friendly truly is Green Oil’s number one priority. Their website is well worth a look, as the unrefined layout and to the point copy is very different to the polished websites you usually see from brands in the cycling industry.
Another area that Green Oil keep simple is their product application instructions. Green Oil’s video demonstrating their lube application is a far cry from the clinical instructions given by brands like Squirt, Smoove, or Silca. Simply clean your chain, apply the lube, rotate the cranks a few times, and wipe off the excess.
Green Oil began when founder Simon Nash was on a bike ride that passed through the River Quaggy in London. On this ride he realised that every cleaning and lubrication product you put on your bike will ultimately end up in waterways. After assessing the lubricant offerings on the market, Simon believed no other brand was doing enough to create truly eco-friendly drivetrain products, and Green Oil was born as a result.
I was sent a few products from the Green Oil range, who’re now available in bike shops Australia wide through Australian Distributor Carbuta. Whilst I’d say most people want to do more for the planet, the products still need to stack up performance wise in a competitive market for people to make the leap.
I was sent a selection of Green Oil products for this review, including their 100ml Wet Lube bottle ($13.99), 100ml Chain Clean jelly ($14.95), and 1 litre Bike Cleaner ($19.99).
Green Oil Wet Lube
Green Oil’s 100ml Wet Lube bottle is a must have for a UK based company. For me however it’s been a while since I’ve run a dedicated wet lube, as I’ve been using Squirt with great success in all conditions for a couple of years now.
The wet lube is claimed to last over 200km between applications, a solid amount considering the wet conditions it’s aimed at. The lubricant is 100 percent biodegradable and comes in a bottle made from recycled plastic. As I live on the East Coast, riding legitimate mountain bike trails in the wet isn’t a good idea most of the time, so I ended up using the lubricant in dry conditions, something Green Oil say is fine.
Unlike wax-based lubricants that don’t require a wipe off post application, my tip with the Green Oil lube would be to wipe it off quite thoroughly post application, as it brings out quite a bit of grime when you apply it. I’d even give the chain a wipe at the time, and then again either the next day or before you hit the trails.
On the trails the lube runs quietly and has done the job for just short of ten hours so far. It attracts more grime than a wax-based lubricant, but a quick wipe of the chain, chainring, and cassette after around 5 hours of use returned the drivetrain to a clean state in a matter of minutes, and the lube continued to do the job in the following rides. Green Oil’s Wet Lube runs cleaner than something like Finish Line’s wet lube, so I can see how in the UK where conditions are wet more often than they’re not a thinner wet lube like this one is a great choice.
Green Oil Chain Clean
The Chain Clean was a handy product to receive with the wet lube, as I wanted to start with a clean chain prior to applying any lubricant. The Chain Clean also comes in a 100ml bottle made of recycled plastic. It’s a touch thicker than the lube, which makes it easy to apply to the chain and a cleaning brush without a heap of wastage. The cleaner seems to stick more to your chain and drivetrain components, compared with thinner products that drip off your bike while cleaning.
Green Oil claim that one bottle will clean 7-10 chains, and I’d say they’re probably spot on. I did two total drivetrain degreases with the bottle I received and there’s still most of the bottle remaining. This degreaser would be a good buy for the type of rider who isn’t fussed on taking their chain off to clean it. If you’re more fastidious about chain cleaning and preparation, I imagine taking your chain off the bike and using Green Oil’s stronger Agent Apple degreaser would be a better option.
You can also use one bottle of Green Oil Chain Clean to make a litre of Green Oil Bike Cleaner by mixing it with 900ml of water, as the Chain Clean is simply a more concentrated version of the Bike Cleaner.
Green Oil Bike Cleaner
Green Oil’s 1 litre bike cleaner is different to most other bike cleaners on the market, as the product ships as 300ml of concentrate, and you add your own water at home. This is a concept Muc-Off have also recently adopted with their Punk Powder, and these moves towards sustainability are great to see, as they lead to a drastic reduction in dead shipping weight.
Another funky nod to lessening their footprint is Green Oil’s use of upcycled soft drink lids. In my case, the bike cleaner came with a Mountain Dew Lid!
Once I’d mixed up my cleaner it was time to get to work on a filthy bike and drivetrain. I really liked the spray nozzle on the bottle, as I find some sprayers can use half a bottle of cleaner washing a single bike. This nozzle cast a wide net with its spray but didn’t use heaps of the cleaner with each spray, which is nice to see.
Green Oil say to apply the Bike Cleaner, leave it for one minute, and wash it off. Whilst this worked fine, I tend to find agitating the cleaner with a clean brush while it’s wet and then leaving it creates better results, and I’d say this is the case for the Green Oil Bike Cleaner. I used the Bike Cleaner on and around my brake calipers and rotors, and it didn’t lead to any contamination.
Other products in the Green Oil range:
There’s a raft of other products in the Green Oil range. I’d be keen to try the Dry chain wax, as I’m a big fan of drip on wax lubricants such as Squirt and Smoove for Australian conditions. The Agent Apple Degreaser is also an interesting one, as it’s hard not to feel guilty using harsh degreasing products and knowing they’re ending up in waterways as they go down your drain.
The Eco Rider Deluxe Set retails for $139.99, and if you’re starting from scratch in terms of a cleaning and lubrication setup it could be the way to go. The kit contains Wet Chain Lube, Ecogrease, Green Clean, Clean Chain, an EcoRag, Drive Chain Brush, Bicycle Brush, and a tub to put it all in.
It’s hard to say bad things about Green Oil’s obvious commitment to sustainability and doing the right thing by the environment. In terms of the performance of the products, it’s all good stuff, although my personal preference in chain lube would remain Squirt or Smoove for the conditions I ride in. Price wise, the Green Oil range is a touch more premium than many of the bigger names in the market, but that’s to be expected from a smaller brand with an environmentally and socially sustainable focus.
All the Green Oil range can be purchased from your local bike dealer now, and if you’ve got any questions you can get in contact with Australian distributors Carbuta directly.
RRP: From $13.99
- Environmentally conscious approach
- A good range of products that work well
- Bike Cleaner’s spray nozzle is a winner
- None as yet